Monday, September 20, 2010

If you think being a writer is glamorous...

then allow me to show you the flip side of the coin.

I've had amazing book signings, sales and reviews. Here's what my publicist told me to expect as an unknown, first time author. Unless you're a political celebrity or a NY Times bestseller the average books you will sell at a booksigning event are - get this - 3. With that said, I have been selling anywhere from 16-50 per event. I've had awesome reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

But THEN last Saturday rolls in .....

First of all let's back up a bit. I have kept my promise to you. Remember? The one to bring you along every step of the way from writing the story, to finding a publicist, publisher and the whole nine yards? The promise to tell you the good, the bad and the ugly?

Well Saturday was ugly. I won't tell you where the book signing was because 1) they were kind enough to have me, and 2) my bad day wasn't their fault.

The positive aspect was that 7 friends showed up and supported me and I love them dearly for it! Thank you Whitney, Jennifer and Che, Sean and Anita, Carol and Bob.

When they weren't there I sat alone. For 4 hours. No one speaks, smiles, makes eye contact or acknowledges me. Well, except for the lady that snarled at me. Does that count?
I don't want to give aspiring writers out there the notion that people are just waiting behind a velvet rope with tons of security and I'm strutting in on the red carpet to sit down and sign to thousands of cheering people.
I'm not crazy about signings to begin with. Those first few minutes are evil. People are curious but they're afraid you're going to give then a hard sell. Usually I have my assistant come with me to pass out push cards that give the synopsis of the book in one short paragraph. She gently chats with them about the book, lets them know the move rights have been sold and Discovery filmed a documentary.
But alas my trusy sidekick couldn't make it Saturday so I was on my own. (JQ I missed you!!) I couldn't wait to get outta there!
A very large lesson in humility, right? But wait! More lessons on the way.
I check my ratings today. One 4-star and nine 5-star ratings on Amazon and the reviews are awesome. Yesss! Then I click over to Barnes and Noble. Yesss!!! Two more 5-star ratings and two great reviews.
Now over to Goodreads to see those rave reviews...huh?
Two, 2-star ratings. And one bad review. And since I have vowed to be honest with you I'm even gonna share the review.
"Interesting story. Poorly written." Ouch.
(She also hated bestseller, "Eat, Pray, Love" so at least I'm in good company.)
So what do you do when your ego takes a double whammy in one short weekend?
Pout. Analyze it. Vow to never write again. Pout. Blog. Did I mention pout?
Then you pull yourself up by your boot straps and ask yourself this one burning question.
Do you love to write? Do you exist to write? Is it the first you think about in the morning and the last thing you think about at night? If you can answer 'yes' then you take out pen and paper and you write again. And again, and again, and again.
Which is what I'm preparing to do. Full time. "False Victim" is doing well enough that I'm able to leave my job behind and make writing my full time career.
So no more time for pouting. I have a new manuscript that needs to be finished by December.
Until next time....


High Heeled Life said...

I would say you are in good company with Eat, Pray , Love- I loved the book)... the reviewer must have been having a moment of memory loss.

As someone who is an aspiring writing I appreciate your openess in sharing our experiences. HHL

~Crystal~ said...

Gosh, if I could have I would have come handed out your push cards for you. :)

Becky said...

You've gotta take the bad with the good. It is the nature of the beast. Just know your book is loved by many and even if it touches one person, I would say job well done.

Sheena Simpson said...

I wish I was as unglamorous as you! I have to raise up a few notches to be at your shoes even.
I pray for those four awkward hours some day EVERY DAY. I know you know how truly blessed you are, so please don't get to upset about this. When the movie comes out you'll be laughing about this when they can't keep False Victim on the shelf.

Bringing Pretty Back said...

I wish I could have sat next to you for moral support! You are an amazing writer and a huge success! Your book was published! Movie...documentary. You are a rockstar to me.
Have a pretty day!

FarmHouse Style said...

You are wise to focus on the positive, eventhough a little pouting is perfectly understandable.
The most important thing is you get to do what you love and that is worth millions of stars!


PS Thanks for not giving up on me:-)

Marydon said...

Have to get your book ... just heard about you on another blog. What a review you got ... intriguing ... I am in MD. where are you?

Have a beautiful week.
TTFN ~ Hugs, Marydon

Bella Della said...

Well, I'll just say that I am so proud of you. And so excited for your success and that your writing journey continues. And I'm so happy that you see something in me ;)


trash talk said...

If memory serves me correctly the PTB didn't like Stephen King either when he was first published....goes to show what do they know! In fact, I seldom agree with critics on movies, restaurants or books for that matter.
I don't know if I could handle all you're dealing with right now...truly I don't. My ego is pretty fragile.
Thanks for keeping it real...and looking beautiful while you do it.

Nezzy said...

Great attitude girl!!! Don't let the critics get ya down, what the heck do they know about the public's take on things anyway.

I had a blast settin' a scene for the pic I took on the giveaway/review I did. Could ya tell??? :o)

Congratulations, I'm just thrilled your book is doin' so well.

God bless and have a marvelous day.

bj said...

Excellent company..Eat Pray Love, my is an awesome book.
Wish I could have been there at the signing..I would have passed out cards, got you coffee, got out on the street and told people to come in, pass out more cards, get you a glass of wine...
Ahhh, Kathy, I KNOW the best is yet to come . Someday, everyone will have a few of your books in their library...

And..great minds...I just bought 5 bags of candy corn at the dollar store and plan to get a bunch more a BIG jar I'm wanting to fill to the brim...yum, too.

bj said...

Oh, yeah...when the movie FALSE VICTIM hits the big screen and you are laughing all the way to the bank, everyone is sure gonna sit up and take notice.

Meadowbrook Cabin Primitives said...


Congratulations on your book ! Writing is such a gift ! I will have to get your book as I love to read.

I found your blog via Old Centennial Farmhouse.

I am also into vintage and have a vintage type breakfast room in the *era* when I was young.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog. I appreciate it !


Farmchick said...

First off...thanks for stopping by my blog and also for the sweet comments.

Congrats on your book....I would love to read it.

Hope you can come back soon for another visit. :)

Sweet Bean said...

I just finished reading your book...I couldn't put it down. I have told everyone I know about your book and recommended that they read it. I can't believe what you have been through. You are amazing and your spirit just shines! God bless you and your family!

Andrea said...

Kathie, there is a big difference between good writing and elegant writing. You didn't write False Victim to be elegant; you wrote it to tell a story. And you did that very well indeed! You have a unique and wonderful gift: you can use simple, everyday language to hook a reader and pull her in. From the first graph, I was enthralled and transported by your story. I say this as a professional writer who is rather fussy about the fiction she reads, and also gets upset about stylistic flaws. You have no problems, girl. You aren't perfect and I'm sure there's something, somewhere that you can improve (though I can't think of it), but you can do what a writer is supposed to: you can tell a fabulous story and get your readers involved, caring, and on the edge of their seats. Millions of pros wish they could do it so well. God gave you a gift.

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Amanda said...

Oh Kathie, I'm right there with you! Thank you for writing this post. I needed to know others struggles as well. Praying for you, and I'd absolutely LOVE to meet with you someday here in TN.
Blessings to you.